REVIEW: Rayman Legends
After the huge success of Rayman Origins, it would make sense for Legends to be just as good, if not better. I can safely say Legends has surpassed all expectations in every aspect, deeming it one of the most enjoyable platforming experiences to date. The amount of thought gone into this game is astonishing and it certainly shows.
Set after Origins, our limbless friend Rayman has been sleeping for a whole century, which is fair enough – the little guy must be exhausted after defeating the Magician previously…or did he? Turns out he’s split into 5 separate dark teensies, who have been busy capturing various princesses across the land.
Upon hearing this news, Rayman and his buddies quickly spark back into action, leading you on another epic adventure in order to save the said princesses and rid the world of any wrong doings. Just like Origins and the original Rayman, Legends is a 2D platformer that promotes everything a game within that genre should – tons of collectibles, unique level design, challenging bosses, and non-repetitive gameplay.
You’ll trek across 5 worlds, each with a unique theme, including a fairytale-like realm with the likes of dragons, goblins, enchanted forests and much more. Later on you’ll enter what can only be described as a Mexican street party on LSD – this gives you the opportunity to use guacamole as platforms to pass giant luchadors and skeletons. Each world is massively different from the other, making for fun original gameplay that doesn’t get stale in the slightest.
Right from the get go, you should notice the vibrant, colourful and absolutely beautiful visuals, whether it’s the incredibly detailed backgrounds or the actual play areas that are brought to life through expert design and artwork. Rayman has always been known for its larger than life graphics and such – even the original still stands on its own today. It’s nice to see that visual style on an even more impressive scale.
A level can start off relatively simple: take out a few enemies with your trusty punch, but then it can go into pure pandemonium as the world will start altering around you, forcing you to quickly run ahead without stopping, all whilst avoiding traps, pits of fire and the constant threat of enemies ambushing you from nowhere. It keeps your pulse high, providing well thought out scenarios, complete with a rewarding and satisfying sense of gameplay. I might be a bad player, but I did find some levels intensely difficult, but really fun none the less.
Sometimes you’ll be given access to Murfy, a guide to Rayman who first made an appearance in Rayman 2. He will move dangerous obstacles and even distract enemies, often by tickling them. Yup, tickling – the most vicious move in the book. If you see Murfy hanging around at the beginning of a level, this should give you a good indication of what’s to come – crazy obstacles and ticklish enemies.
You are given a rating at the end of each level – bronze, silver, or gold. The rating is determined by the amount of Lums you collect within a level – Lums are little yellow bugs that should be collected by either finding them scattered throughout each level or by defeating enemies and bosses. The more Lums, the higher your rating will be. Teensies should also be gathered as you’ll need a certain amount to unlock levels later on – much like Lums, Teensies can be obtained through exploration, finding secret areas or by defeating bosses and such.
All of this makes for great replay value, much like every other Rayman. It’s the kind of game you should go back to collect absolutely everything as you’ll reap the rewards as well as doing everything possible in a game that truly deserves more than a one-off playthrough. Most enemies are relatively easy, some bosses can be tough, but I feel the real challenge of Legends is collecting every Teensy and unlocking a gold rating on every level. It’s a challenge that should be attempted if you wish to get everything this game has to offer.
A nice extra are lucky scratch cards, which are rewarded through finding a certain number of Lums in a level – these cards unlock additional remastered levels from the original Rayman, which if you played that as a kid, should smack you in the face with pure nostalgia. Other rewards from the cards include more Lums, Teensies or Creatures. Creatures are exactly what it says on the tin – Creatures. Upon finding them, they sit in their own little space and will generate Lums on a daily basis, giving you a reason to visit the little fellas every so often for a nice bonus.
If you want a break from the main game, Legends offers a variety of mini-games in the form of daily and weekly challenges, in which you can complete special levels in a competitive environment against real players from around the world. These often include time-based challenges, which require quick reflexes to precisely make it over certain obstacles and such – much like levels from the main game, but this time you’ll be put on the global leaderboard for your efforts. Or you won’t, depending on how you do.
Without a doubt, the most enjoyable levels are the music-based ones, in which you must quickly get through specially designed stages that match your movements and actions in tune to a cover song, whether it be “Black Betty”, “Woo-Hoo”, or “Eye of the Tiger”. Each enemy and obstacle is carefully placed in order to sync up with the background song, making for an immensely fun experience. This goes to show the sheer amount of time and effort the designers put into this game – I imagine it took long hours to match the song with the mayhem that’s occurring on-screen, and so I give massive respect to the guys at Ubisoft for doing such a fantastic job.
Legends is a truly remarkable platformer that manages to incorporate everything that makes Rayman such a beloved series, including extremely well-designed levels and challenging but fair gameplay mechanics, making for an astonishing achievement within gaming. Go and buy this game right now. You will not be disappointed.
Available On: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Windows PC